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Article updated: 4/9/2013 11:39 PM

Michels re-elected Sugar Grove president

Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels, with his wife, Val, thanks his supporters Tuesday night at the Open Range Southwest Grill in Sugar Grove.

Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels, with his wife, Val, thanks his supporters Tuesday night at the Open Range Southwest Grill in Sugar Grove.

 

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Sean Michels held on to his title as Sugar Grove village president Tuesday, after a rancorous contest where his opponent questioned the village's use of Michels' father's engineering firm in contracts and the firm's role in a longtime flooding issue in a subdivision.

Michels got 696 votes; and Trustee Kevin Geary had 533, according to unofficial results.

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"I think it is a good sign, that people are happy with how the village is going with all the new retail we've brought in," balanced budgets and surpluses going to fix roads, Michels said.

For the village board, incumbents Robert Bohler and Rick Montalto were re-elected, and joining them on the board is Sean Herron.

"I'm a little disappointed that I lost. It was a close race," Geary said Tuesday. "At the end of the day, we're all Sugar Grove. We need to pull back together, work by our differences, to turn Sugar Grove in to a world-class community."

However, Michels said people were upset with the "negative campaign" Geary and his consultant, Jon Zahm, ran, and said Geary should be apologizing.

"He has a lot of fence-mending to do," said Michels, first elected president in 1999. Geary, who was elected a trustee that same year, is in the middle of his 4-year term on the village board and will serve another two years.

During the campaign, Geary questioned the propriety of the village using an engineering firm that Michels' father founded and was president of for many years, for work on projects when Michels was in office.

The contracts were awarded without bids, and the two candidates disputed whether the village could even legally seek bids on professional-services contracts such as those for engineering work -- Michels' saying it was illegal to ask about price before selecting a firm and that selections are required to be based on qualifications.

Geary had said the village doesn't know if it got the best price for the work because it was not competitively bid. But he voted for many of the contracts because he did not want to be "an obstructionist," he said.

Meanwhile, Trustees Montalto and Bohler were re-elected to 4-year terms on the board, with 728 and 668 votes respectively. Also elected was Herron, who got 638 votes.

The losing candidates, Stephanie Landsdorf and Gayle Deja-Schultz, got 520 and 566 votes respectively.

Bohler, at a candidate forum in March, disputed contentions that the village needed to be friendlier to businesses, to get more development going. Business and residential development stagnation is due to the overall economy, he said, and Sugar Grove will have a boom when the economy recovers.

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